U.S. grains: Futures rally on weather concerns

Wheat futures book biggest increases

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Chicago | Reuters — U.S. wheat, corn and soybean futures rallied on Wednesday, supported by concerns that a cold snap in the U.S. Midwest and Plains could hamper crop development, traders said.

Chicago Board of Trade corn gained 2.4 per cent to hit its highest since June 2013.

Wheat futures posted the biggest increases, with CBOT soft red winter wheat futures up 2.9 per cent, while Kansas City hard red winter wheat rose 3.2 per cent.

“Cold surge next week poses spotty wheat damage risk in southern one-third of the U.S. Plains; possible burn back to emerged Midwest corn,” Commodity Weather Group said in a note to clients.

The weather also could cause some growers to delay their planting of corn and soybeans.

“The risks are myriad; late planting, bad germination of seed that has already been planted, burned back plants that have emerged,” Charlie Sernatinger, global head of grain futures at ED&F Man Capital said in a client note. “Probably not a disaster, but not a sterling start to the planting season.”

Chicago Board of Trade May corn futures settled up 14 cents at $5.94 a bushel and CBOT May soybeans were up 20-1/2 cents at $14.10 a bushel (all figures US$).

“U.S. temperatures aren’t quite fitting into the ‘severe’ category but the current cold snap is plenty of keep enthusiasm for early corn and soybean seeding low, with conditions looking dry but cold for the next seven to 10 days or more as well,” Matt Zeller, director of market information at StoneX, said in a note to clients.

CBOT May wheat was 18-1/4 cents higher at $6.48 a bushel while K.C. May wheat, traded in Chicago, rose 18 3/4 cents to $6.03 1/2.

Experts are predicting a dry spell in coming weeks on the European continent. The water deficit is already in place in U.S. spring wheat areas in the north of the country, French consultancy Agritel said in a note.

— Reporting for Reuters by Mark Weinraub in Chicago; additional reporting by Naveen Thukral in Singapore and Sybille de La Hamaide in Paris. Includes files from Glacier FarmMedia Network staff.

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